Home is where the hurt is

Waiting to be seen

The prime minister was in New York when the September 18 earthquake struck. He’d left Bhutan on 12th September to address the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly on 23rd September.

Most heads of government would have rushed home if, during their absence, an earthquake that hit their country caused widespread destruction. Our PM did not. He chose to stay on in New York. And from there, instead of returning home, he chose to go straight to Tokyo to address the 24th Congress of Architecture on 28th September, and then to Kolkata to meet the chief minister and to attend a Buddhist society meeting.

The PM eventually came home on 2nd October, two weeks after the September 18 earthquake.

It’s been over a month since he returned home, but, as far as I know, the PM still has not visited any of the areas that were hit by the earthquake.

And last Sunday, the PM left the country again, this time to attend the SAARC summit that will take place in The Maldives on 10th and 11th November.

Meanwhile, our people are still struggling to rebuild their lives and their homes. The September 18 earthquake damaged 9000 structures and cost Nu 888 million.

 

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  1. Tenzin P. Wangdi says:

    Our PM is a prodigal son and what did he do when he came back from Kolkata? he brought some sacred relics of Lord Buddha and his two diciples and made the country forget that he had foresaken them and the innocent people are singing his praises. He is a master politician but people are waking up, or are we?

  2. the pm’s absence during the earthquake was something some of us pointed out when you wrote about the quake..and we have waited to see what he’d do upon his return..sure enough, his absence has been conspicuous..the inaction by minjur dorji, too..
    the man is such a fake..just you wait & see..if our king tours the affected areas again, he will be the1st to jump on to the entourage unknowingly revealing once again his hypocrisy..
    we have seen the attitude of pm, ministers & public officials – they are, almost all, amateur at best and selfish, greedy & full of themselves at worst..good with rhetoric but far short on competence & empathy..

  3. INVISIBLE says:

    As a citizen, it is rare, “very” rare, that I choose to comment on the conduct of the Prime Minister of Bhutan. Despite all his human shortcomings hidden in his eloquence, I forgive him on almost every count because he has served Bhutan more years than I have been on this earth. I will not discount my respect for him.

    That said, on this (Sept 18 earthquake), I agree with OL, every word of it.

    On that week, I had heartbreaking news of frightened children, fallen homes, and sleepless parents in Bhutan on one side of my laptop screen. On the other side of my laptop screen, I was watching our PM’s eloquent speech in the UN. Juxtaposing the two at the same time, I could not swallow my own saliva. I had lump on my throat, tear in my eyes, and earthquake in my heart. I was heartbroken when our PM stood at the UN podium and said “…allow me to speak on the subject of happiness…”.

    And as OL pointed out our PM did not seem to have changed his travel plan/schedule after UN. It is so sad.

    Leadership is needed in times of “uncertainty.” Our PM was not there when our children were frightened, when our parents were panicking, and when our homes were falling. It was a moment of “uncertainty.” Our PM did manage the situation and calmed the people from “far” through Facebook and through officiating PM. But it is NOT the same as being “present” in the moment. It was a leadership failure – a leadership disaster.

    I am not angry but I feel outrage. And I feel more outrage because I expected more from our seasoned Prime Minister, whom I deeply respect. I at least expected him to call for a moment of silence on that UN Podium to be with his people back in Bhutan, to express solidarity in symbolism, before he smiled and talked so eloquently on the subject of “happiness.”

    I was simply disheartened.

    With Respects,
    Invisible

  4. It is because the worst hit areas were in western Bhutan….

  5. The role of OL is not to attack PM on issues of no significance and importance. OL is doing these days so ridiculously. But PM knows his concerns on his people and in his country, and people have felt it, perhaps except the OL. Lots of people have expressed their gratitude for the concerns shown and action taken by PM on the last earth quake. All necessary reconstructions are in place. He had visited the most effected places and if not covered by him, it was covered by his representatives and we cannot expect PM in person to all brewed families at times, especially when he is away far from home for a greater purpose for the people and the country. PM is concerned and it is his order for all actions that are now in place in addition to the ones being rendered by Gyalpoi Zimpons office.

    PM of his nature is rare here as people know him best and more than anything is our beloved kings know him of his dedication and concerns for the public. I doubt whether anyone is more dearer and nearer than PM on the minds of our kings due to his excellent commitments and dedications, selflessly contributed since so many dedicates, to the service of the kings, people and the country. To me, PM is doing great for the people. We also know that PM had acquired more than two acres of land at Bihar (Bodhgaya…Dorjidheen),India and guest house constructions are in place for our people…Thus, if OL is to waste his time on pointing out on no significant issues, OL also should not let the good things of the PM go unnoticed in his forum……purely my thought and view.

  6. I was not surprised to see the PM not returning home during the earthquake strike. Even if he had come directly from the U.S, what is the use? We had lots of ministers who were there inside the country during the time of the earthquake to look after issues related to destruction. Do not blame the PM for not returning home right off! He did what he think was the best! He went to Japan because Bhutan owe a great debt to Japan, in the sense that the former has helped our country with funds, grappling rural poverty and what not. You can’t possibly think of repaying all these things Japan has provided us for free. So, we should be grateful to Japan, and in this context, I don’t see a reason why the PM flying over to Japan would be a national concern.

    The Ol is just making a fuss and wasting his time by focusing into these petty matters when we have lots of other issues to address. Instead of blaming the PM, why don’t you just place the blame on other fellow MPs and ministers who are that much as responsible and accountable as the PM? Finally, what is the use of visiting places and giving condolences when what you actually do is nothing but provide lip service??

  7. The cruelest part is, as the OL put it, “he left the country again” without even paying a visit to the affected areas!!

    Perhaps, as someone mentioned earlier, it’s cause the ‘worst hit areas” are in Haa and Paro??

  8. You all can again play the blame game but 2013 is in store for JYT government although may not be a landslight victory. Cheers!

  9. Economist wrote: “The Ol is just making a fuss and wasting his time by focusing into these petty matters when we have lots of other issues to address. Instead of blaming the PM, why don’t you just place the blame on other fellow MPs and ministers who are that much as responsible and accountable as the PM? Finally, what is the use of visiting places and giving condolences when what you actually do is nothing but provide lip service??”

    Sometimes- all PM bashing over-enthusiastic reporting- instead of scoring brownie points, however, may result into boomeranging on the paper’s credibility aspects when viewed vis-à-vis the ground realities.
    Economist seems to be in close touch with the reality.

  10. Let me suggest a middle ground where OL and PM can meet and sort out their personal vendetta. Let the ground be NA where two leaders of democratic Bhutan could discuss and debate issue of concerns. My believe is that writing each others whereabouts and doings in a blog will not solve the acrimonious relationship that seems to be developing between leaders of two parties. If such bitter relation continues it spells bad omen for young democracy in a dragon kingdom.

    Cheers

  11. TORISE dragon says:

    When the king can visit the earthquake hit areas immediately, why can’t the PM visit once returning back from Japan. It’s not a complain but our people will have some cheerfulness in their mind which will lightened the weight of their discomfort. Bhutanese people have build some sort of feeling in their mind to get relieve when the ruler of the country visit them in such times, and we should never forget that PM belongs to the people either the disaster hit the east or north part of Bhutan.
    The immediate response was taken by the officiating PM, Lyonpo Minjur and we would appreciate that but to have PM in real is what matters either he comes after one month or two.
    We as a citizen does not complain PM neither say OL is wrong but it’s the action that need to be taken care of as a family under one nation one people.
    We respect the deeds of PM as he’s building Bhutan in any possible way he can.
    We do respect OL for his deeds too, coz through him we can know and understand what’s going on in the country.

  12. Timothy Tang says:

    I am not from Bhutan but I would like to offer my perspective.

    I see the prime minister and the monarch of a country as having 2 different roles.

    The monarch’s role is to cater to the emotional well-being of its people. The prime minister’s role is mainly to focus on working to develop the country.

    So if the monarch already caters to the people, the prime minister is freed to focus on his job.

    If the monarch fulfills its role, the prime minister don’t have to take on its role. I’m sure the monarch would have told the PM not to return but to focus on his job overseas. I think both the monarch and the PM have their own distinct roles that should not cross heavily on each other’s path.

    If the PM tries to do the job of the monarch, it can then be seen as a form of disrespectful belittlement to the monarch’s role.

    I have seen many examples from different countries to realize this.

  13. Tenzin P. Wangdi says:

    PM has no jobs overseas. It is his prodigal nature to travel with a big retinue, not to mention all these ministers and his chamchagiris seeing him off and in. Bhutan is a poor country and we are asking donors to give us funds and then PM is busy lobbying with countries to vote for Bhutan to become a member in the security council. Why would we want to be a member there? Most experts, inside foreign ministry officials believe, being a member will do Bhutan more harm than good. It will do his ego good may be.

  14. It was not necessary but it is correct for the Hon’ble OL to comment on the affairs of the Hon’ble PM. This could provide scopes for the much-required check and balance on the behaviours of the leaders. The truth, however, is that, if it was the intent of OL to smear the personality of the PM and the way he runs his business, then even if the PM is doing the correct thing, that would never be enough to please the OL. But let’s hope that the OL raised this issue with the hope of improving the governance for the betterment of our country and people.

    That said, I agree that the Hon’ble PM took exceptionally long to return home at a time of crises of this proportion. But then again, the PM would have known himself perfectly well the criticality of the situation. That meant his priority to continue his visits abroad was even more urgent. Perhaps, the benefits from the linkages he built with our donor nations could do much more good to the victims than his mere presence among the strickened people and demonstrating his crestfallen countenance. Or at least that is what I think !

  15. Being the head leader of the country.he should first give preference to the people rather then his own health.he might have thought that he wont get chance to visit japan and miss the session if he return back to Bhutan that time.this shows that he
    is able to take the right decision and to choose the right direction in the wrong time.This shows how bold he is in taking decision when it comes to the critical part of situation.
    To be a good leader one has to be bold enough to take their decision of their own,no matter what the conditions may be.
    People of Bhutan should think twice before they select their next leader.

    To my experience in the other countries i have seen most of the political head returning to their country in between their meetings when such disaster happens.

  16. pem tshering says:

    How can we expect our PM to visit the places (western Bhutan) he chose to leave and go to eastern Bhutan (Pemagatshel). He was neither in eastern Bhutan when the earthquake struck the eastern districts in 2008, nor now in western Bhutan when the western districts were struck by the earthquake. I really can’t understand this guy and his ways, and I am counting the days for the next election in 2013. I will at least not be fooled this time by his empty words. I thank the PM and the DPT for all the broken promises. Bye, bye!

  17. Tenzin P. Wangdi says:

    Whether we like it or not, it looks like dpt is here to stay. Pdp is looking like a dead horse, JYT and his henchmen will be taking us for more rides again. He does what he likes and many of us are still singing his praises..what a world!

  18. A deep analysis and awareness campaign will help the people to select the best leader of our country.
    It depends on how the people perceive things when the analysis and campaign is done.A good government and good people of Bhutan should deserve and people should choose a commanding leader who has a strategic vision towards his country.

  19. Tenzin P. Wangdi says:

    What does it cost for Bhutan to lobby for a seat in security council?

    - Two ambassadors in New York
    - Lots of travels by PM, ministers and other senior bureacrats
    - can the government tell us what it costs us?

    If we do get a seat, which is unlikey given that South Korea is one of the candidates, it will do us more harm than good. Because we have to take sides, and that is not good for us as a small nation. It is only good for his huge ego. I say we become a member of WTO than that.

  20. PLEASE READ Timothy Tang’s post above.

    The main point being:

    “The monarch’s role is to cater to the emotional well-being of its people. The prime minister’s role is mainly to focus on working to develop the country.”

    I am sure that his decision to remain abroad and promote Bhutan internationally was done with the consent and in consultancy with HM.

    In all honesty do you all think he makes decisions of such importance all by his lonesome self? I think not.

    We need to do away with petty politics and focus on REAL issues. In order to become a better nation – a true democracy, we need to focus on constructive criticism and NOT make personal attacks. We need to let go of personal vendetta and become objective.

  21. P wangdi just ve personal grudge n hatred to pm….he is still not out from 2008 humiliation he suffered due to pm ….will get same in 2013…be prepared!

  22. PM had to left for Maldives not because he desired to nor it cab be substituted by some one, since he being an chairman of the SAARC. He had lot of regional reports to be addressed and handed over this important charges to the next man. So, we have a reason to feel proud for his leaving on account of successfully heading other 7 countries over last two years and achieved tremendous progress in all respects. This is a history made by DPT government for having to avail the opportunity to host and chair other developed countries by a tiny country like ours for the first time since our participation. This was admired by the world not only for its initiation but for that it went so excellently in a Bhutanese way. Memories in the hearts of the SAARC leaders for their short stay in Thimphu in a Bhutanese way must be still so found. Thus, it is our PM and his crew who made our kings and people felt so high.

    We dont have choice since people liked him for his commendable capabilities and voted him subsequently, and the only change we can expect is the PM, Majority of the present ministers and DPT is going to rule us again, further from 2013. There is no doubt on the works they have planed and achieved. They have had held always accountable.

  23. Being a small country squeezed between two giant global players and both likely to dominate geopolitics in the next couple of decades, making visits to different countries by the PM and alike is an imperative and every fellow citizen should agree on this. Bhutan needs to diversify its foreign relations by forging ties with different nations through soft power tactics. Bhutan, unfortunately, has neither economic power nor military dominance to use as leverage in geopolitics; so, the PM’s pursuit of soft power-that is, addressing issues of global importance like global warming, sustainability, friendship and the alike-is a survival mechanism. We can no longer throw ourselves back to an isolationist state given the dynamics of changing geopolitics; doing so would be tantamount to losing Bhutan’s status as a sovereign state and, of course, as a GNH pursuing country.

    So, given these challenges, it is no accident that the PM and the like-minded folks understand the sheer value of making visits across continents and diversifying foreign relations in the process. Simply by making ungrounded and myopic comments about the PM’s visits overseas and his failure to pay visits to disaster-affected areas, we seem to be missing the wood for the trees. We really seem to lose the bigger picture!! The OL and his majesty had already visited those affected areas, and making another visit by the PM will be a sheer waste of time, wealth and what not. As Timothy Tang clearly draws the line between what His Majesty ought to do and what the PM ought to do, the issue of the PM not making a visit to affected areas is utterly immaterial. The OL no doubt is completely aware of the significance of making attacks on the PM vis-à-vis his failure to make a visit and alike, because he can his these lapses as leverage to solicit votes from his people and debunk the ruling party, now that the time for the next election is not that far. As for the issue of the PM making a visit to Pema Gatshel instead of going to affected areas, the PM has his constituency there and he should be responsible to his people, not to the constituency of the opposition leader, which he has already visited. But this does not mean that the PM-as the head of government-should shun the constituency of the OL and be responsive only to his people. But given his role as PM and time constraints, he can’t visit every place and takes for granted that his majesty and the OL have visited the affected areas.

  24. If you look at it from another angle it makes more sense. Could it be that the PM did not want to step into what already has been taken up by HM. HM has always taken priorty with the kidu and welbeing of the people and he is doing a brillant job, there cannot be anyone better than HM on this job.

    Well, its a different issue but I cannot help but bring it up here so that I can draw your attention. I saw the panel discussion on the DHI yesterday and the OL’s input. I must say for once I am disheartened with the way the discussion went on yesterday. And more so with the OL. I assume from your past exercises, you are thorough with the Constitution. I just could not believe that you let the part of the renumeration of DHI officials go without pointing out that they have breached the Constitution. I would like to point out Section 2, Article 30 of the Constitution which clearly talks about who can fix the renumerations and that does not leave out DHI. As far as I know, the Royal Charter does not talk about the renumerations of the DHI officials. And we must note that some blue panel memebers of the DHI are themselves members of the DHI BOARD.

    And those ppl who say they deserve more than the civil servants are pure selfish. I wonder what is the measurement for inputs between the so called corporations and the civil servants. Thinking they do all work and put their selfish thoughts forward yesterday showed how stupid and weak they are, it only shows their weakness and nothing more. We are all ashamed with the Corporations and thier thoughts.

  25. pem tshering says:

    Come on, guys! Both the PM and the OL are doing very well and we need not really question why. Let us elect them again but with some more MPs in the Opposition. Or, let’s give PDP a chance to govern and see how they perform from 2013 – 2018. This would give the people of Bhutan a much better stand on who to be elected and why.

  26. Owing to some engagements, yesterday, I couldn’t get the chance to watch the full session of the live panel discussion.

    In that brief while, I heard the Finance DG saying something like the Blue Panel Ribbon government representatives in the past participated in these DHI meetings more alongside their personal standing than as full powered government representatives.

    On hearing this statement, I was confused, in that, I wondered why these so called government representatives failed in defending the government’s stand and easily given into what was presented by the DHI team.

    Had there been some critical brainstorming sessions based more along the rationality standpoints vis-à-vis other sector’s prevailing salary structures and the nation’s carrying capacity, I think, things would have always remained at a reasonable ambit of the Bhutanese society’s walking distance?

    Today, people are making noise because there appears to be some wide discrepancies in terms of perks and other allowances.

    If our government secretaries continue failing us in discharging their duties, I think, it is time they are questioned as to why these important elements are overlooked at the initial stages.

  27. Dear economist,

    Whoever you are, I bow to you. Your second comment made sense to me. It has lots of substance and weight in it. I agree with “soft power” approach of Bhutan’s evolutionary survival strategy as the new centre of global tension (geopolitics) shifts from the Atlantic Ocean of the past (think cold war era) to the Indian Ocean of the present (think “intersection” of energy lanes of the world).

    That said, I still feel our PM could do more at home and OL “nudging” the PM to do more is good thing in our new democracy.

    We have to allow such space for democracy to “grow.”

    With Respects,
    Invisible

  28. OL had written in his tweeter misinforming the public on govt accusing DHI, but it was not at all the govt. It is the general public who are sharing their views. Views can be right and it can be wrong ….

  29. From New York says:

    During the earthquake in Bhutan I was in New York too but not accompanying the PM’s team from Bhutan. I work here and its been like three years. I saw the news of the earthquake updated by some people on the facebook & Twitter from Bhutan and on the same day the Bhutan Mission arranged a get together for Bhutanese working here to meet with the PM. I expected a lot that H.E. would be updating about this news but things turned out differently, its somewhat campaigning for 2013. He mentioned the following things

    - He informed that he brought with him an official from the Home Ministry to issue the id. card for Bhutanese working in New York.

    - Bhutanese staying abroad without legal residence will be allowed to vote for 2013 election.

    - Please keep your parcel ready if you have one for your family back in Bhutan.

    That’s all he had to say before starting taking pictures with his fans. I decided not to stay any further because the next thing was dancing when our own people are suffering back home.

    The next day was a talk on “Bhutan’s role in promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia” at the Asia Society headquarters in New York. I think when we can’t bring happiness within our own boundary, how can we think of others too???

  30. It would be much better if the OL stops nit-picking even if he does believe that nit-picking is part of his job.

    In regard to the damage caused by the very recent earthquake, I would agree with the OL if there indeed had been severe loss of life which is certainly not the case here. And I agree with other authors who have stated very clearly that since His Majesty has already visited the affected areas, it would not have been wise for the PM to have done the same thing, whether you like it or not, many people would have then complained that the PM was somehow encroaching on HM’s turf.

  31. Tenzin P. Wangdi says:

    About Bhutanese PM becoming the chair of the SAARC, it is not because he is so capable. SAARC chairmanship and venue of summits are rotated among the members. Even if Phuba Thinley were the head of the gov in Bhutan, he would have been chair of the SAARC and the member countries would have praised us publicly for a grear job done, that is the art of diplomacy.

  32. @INVISIBLE! Sure, the PM ought to do more inside the country. But at the same time, he should be able to give equal weight to both domestic politics and geopolitics. Both of them are equally important! And the OL nudging the PM to do what the PM ought to do is a good thing,too, for our burgeoning democracy, except the fact that sometimes he does it out of context which, to me, is not only unbecoming but full of sound and fury.

    But I am not, by any means, trying to disparage him. So far, he has done so good, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to him!! Nagarjuna, in Shaytring, writes to the King, his friend: “A stupa whitewashed with limestone would look white. But it would look whiter and better when faced to the light of the moon.” So, a little effort on the part of the OL would make a lot of difference, and I am looking forward to it,,really!

    And to the guy who is talking about Phub thinley or whoever he is! Your analogy is not only idealistic and imbecile but categorically bizarre and crazy!!

  33. ok now best solution i got is let Prime Minister stay in country and let Opposition Leader go to other country begging for money………..keep in mind that Bhutan have to depend on foreign donation…..as i read Kuensel today, i saw that the main income of our country, i.e, hydro power, is not even sufficient to lite for Bhutan itself and have to import electricity worth more than Nu. 300M…..
    About going to SARRC submit; when PM of big and powerful countries like india can come to the meeting how embrassed it would be to Bhutanese people if we send a PMs representative to the big conference…..

  34. @economist, I like your stupa analogy about OL but I would equally give him credit even if he is just a piece of sand. I read somewhere that “if you are just a piece of sand, would you rather choose to be a piece of sand on the beach or would you rather choose to be a piece of sand in someone eye.” I am glad OL choose to be a piece of sand in someone’s eye. Every time our PM looks in the wrong direction on issue of national importance (such as rule of law), I think OL was there to “irritate” PM’s eye to look in the right direction with clarity. Of course, I also agree with you that there are a few incidences when OL irritated PM’s eye even when PM was looking in the right direction. But that’s human shortcomings. Both PM and OL have that.

    However, as we look into the future, I like to see two things improve both for PM and OL. In democratic Bhutan, PM is more behaving undemocratic. In other words, I think PM is placing leadership importance too much on himself that there is a risk of founder’s syndrome when I think of DPT party/government. PM is failing in investing/grooming succession leadership. True leadership is “enabling others to achieve the purpose,” not doing all by yourself. On that front, the way I would measure is this: If PM leaves DPT tomorrow and if DPT feels his absence, then PM has failed in his leadership. If PM leaves DPT tomorrow and if DPT does not feel PM’s absence (leadership vacuum), then PM has done a good job as a leader (“enabled others to achieve the purpose”). Today, it is hard to imagine which MP(s) are groomed to lead if we have to let old sets of ministers to rest/retire. They have done so much, worked so hard for almost 4 decades; our generation should feel shame if we cannot even let our parents’ generation of leaders to rest. Almost all of them have grandchildren. They do deserve rest. We must graciously “thank” them, instead of expecting too much from there. Question is what kind of leadership PM will leave behind.

    Similarly, when I think of PDP I think OL has done a great job trying his best but I also fear OL is becoming more like PM (focusing on himself) – risk of founder’s syndrome again. I hardly see MP Damchoe even if it is one of the smallest opposition. Or did he choose to be a piece of sand on the beach (of MPs)?

    These are just my honest opinions/thoughts. I love my country, just like all of you. We should care. If Bhutanese don’t, who would?

    Respects,
    Invisible

  35. One simple question:

    When your house is in trouble what would you expect from your elder ones?

    All explanations and logic are immaterial and non-sense to a person who has gone through the pain. For me, I would have been consoled if my leaders were standing with me. I don’t ask for any financial support, but a word of support would certainly be the biggest encouragement to build my house again. This time, like always, I could see only His Majesty giving us that support… I don’t want to know why other leaders could not?????????

  36. so, even as people’s lives were changed by the recent quake..even as our king with his bride cut short his visit to kurtoe..the bhutanese pm was globe trotting with his wife, was telling bhutanese in new york to keep their parcels ready, was dancing the night away..preposterous!!! good info “from new york”..
    what can we say..about a man who walks in step with our king, whose wife wore her rachu the way it is reserved for our royals..whatever the circumstance, we must never forget the difference between sky & earth..

  37. I think we talk a lot and say very little; debate a lot and the outcome evaporates faster than we enclose down our computers. That is not to say such discussions/debates should not take place. They must. Let’s leave politics and diplomacy out for a while and concentrate on what is doable with minimum of funds or with available and affordable money with us. For eg. the sleaze, the dirt, the filth and drugs and alcohol related problems in our urban areas in general and the capital city in particular! The Mayor was thought to be a task master but he seemed to have joined the bandwagon of the smooth talkers! Our ministers and MPs drive up and down the expressways in style and don’t even want to drive, forget walking, in or on the back streets of the capital! So they don’t see anything and now that their time is running out, they won’t bother. Unless of course, they are embarking on the idea of reentry in 2013! These local and domestic issues are more alarming to me than the squabble between PM & the OL. Both of them are trying to do their political best but the back streets need more and immediate attention, too!

  38. I smell conflict of interests

  39. I think someone is misinterpreting OL’s post here. OL is not against PM leaving to attend SAARC summit, but he is talking about PM not visited affected areas even after coming back from ngyekor…..and within his 2 months stay in Bhutan.

  40. Jarodongchen says:

    Dear OL,

    First, I want to discuss the BBS panel discussion on the DHI. I was sorely disappointed by the quality of discussion and the lack of focus on the real issue that was supposed to have been discussed – the disproportionate pay and perks claimed by the officers of the DHI. It was amazing that, even the normally sharp Dawa, the Anchor, was completely hoodwinked and allowed himself to be drawn away from the main issue and ended up discussing why corporate employees needed to be paid more than the civil servants and the private sector employees. That wasn’t the concern of the people at all.

    During the discussions, no one asked why the DHI officers paid themselves such huge pay and perks. Neither did anyone ask if they deserved what they pay themselves. Nor did anyone ask what has been their achievement since the last four years of their coming into being.

    The CEO of DHI and some others have claimed that they work very hard and beyond 4PM in winter and beyond 5PM during the summer months. No one had the presence of mind to point out that, unless they have something concrete to show for it, working long hours is inconsequential. In management circles, it is called – lot of efficiency without effectiveness.

    The stated objectives of the DHI are the prudent management of the country’s resources and to explore beneficial investment opportunities within, as well as, outside the country. While it is evident that they have been imprudent, through lavishing themselves with pay and perks inconsistent with their competencies, there is no visible sign that they have made any meaningful investments so far, whether within or without, the country. On the contrary, it is clear that the people at the helm of things at the DHI have been totally incompetent, going by few cases that I know of.

    Take, for instance, the case of Druk Air. One of the things that the DHI is so quick to point out is that they ensure that the Corporations under them work hard and efficiently. That is far from true. Take a look at the Druk Air’s website. It is hardly ever updated, the information contained in there is outdated and the only time you should visit their site is, if you need yourself to me misguided.

    Recently, I was witness to the inauguration of the ICT Park building at Babesa. Have you seen the state of that building? It is shameful, to say the least. Even after being close to a year behind schedule, the building is still only 60% done. And, by the way, only the shell of the building is to be constructed. Can you imagine if the interiors were to be done as well? It would take DHI 10 years to do the building. Is this how efficient people do work? With this level of incompetency, how do DHI hope to draw clients that are the crème de la crème of the ICT world, to set up shop at the ICT Park?

    A hilarious joke that is currently doing the rounds in Thimphu is that, while our Cabinet Ministers arrive at the ICT Park in Prados, the officers of the DHI arrive in Landcruisers.

    The whole country knows the reason why DHI was created. The intensions may be noble but the premise on which it is based is wrong.

  41. Jarodongchen says:

    Dear OL,

    With due respect, concerning the issue about our PM not visiting the earthquake affected areas, I think you are ignoring one very important issue that the PM must bear in mind. You ought to have realized by now, as many Bhutanese have, that the kidu to the people, particularly in the rural areas, has been in the domain of the Crown.

    If you look back in the past few years since the advent of democracy, you will see that it has been His Majesty and the Gyalpoi Zimpon’s office that has been at the scene of a disaster – every time. It is a royal prerogative and it should be so. Even when Cabinet Ministers were present at the scene, it has been to complement the efforts of the Gyalpoi ZImpon’s office. I am not sure but I think it is for that reason that His Majesty has created a number of Representative offices around the country specifically to cater to the needs of the people in times of emergency and to look into the affairs of the underserved people.

    Under the circumstance, would it not be an act of infringement on the Royal prerogatives, if the PM were to duplicate efforts that are being ably managed by His Majesty the King? Would it not be viewed as an attempt on the part of the Prime Minister to undermine His Majesty’s benevolence?

    As a politician, I have no doubt that the PM would be very happy to seize the opportunity to be seen to be there for his voters. In fact, I dare say that not being able to do so is a lost opportunity for him and his DPT party. However, PM realizes that duplication of efforts is nothing more than additional cost to the country.

    So, lets all give our poor PM a break.

  42. Tenzin Penjore says:

    This post from someone in NY makes us think..please read and think. PM calling people in NY and promising them they can vote from NY and having dancing session to celebrate while our people are suffering the worst earthquake?

    From New York says: November 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    During the earthquake in Bhutan I was in New York too but not accompanying the PM’s team from Bhutan. I work here and its been like three years. I saw the news of the earthquake updated by some people on the facebook & Twitter from Bhutan and on the same day the Bhutan Mission arranged a get together for Bhutanese working here to meet with the PM. I expected a lot that H.E. would be updating about this news but things turned out differently, its somewhat campaigning for 2013. He mentioned the following things
    - He informed that he brought with him an official from the Home Ministry to issue the id. card for Bhutanese working in New York.
    - Bhutanese staying abroad without legal residence will be allowed to vote for 2013 election.
    - Please keep your parcel ready if you have one for your family back in Bhutan.
    That’s all he had to say before starting taking pictures with his fans. I decided not to stay any further because the next thing was dancing when our own people are suffering back home.
    The next day was a talk on “Bhutan’s role in promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia” at the Asia Society headquarters in New York. I think when we can’t bring happiness within our own boundary, how can we think of others too???

  43. Tenzing Penjore and that Guy from New York, whoever the hell he is, please note that what the PM was doing in New York was that he was only trying to make things easier for the Bhutanese community who are living their illegally. The fact that the PM said that he had brought someone from the Immigration Department to update people with their IDs etc speaks volumes for the PMs concerns. The fact that the Guy from New York was the only guy who made a quick retreat from the gathering where he was probably not even wanted must have been a blessing in disguise for the majority of other Bhutanese that were their to meet the PM with real good will.

  44. My thinking goes in line with what Kelpa has explicitly expressed in his views above.

    PM is doing what is beneficial for the country and the people. I do not see a reason of blaming him for his travel. He is travelling for the greater benefit of the country while his Cabinet Ministers are well directed to look after the causes of the Sept 18 earthquake. I fully agree in seeing no reason what additional things can be done with PM’s personal presence at the disaster sites.

    But, I cannot blame OL as well. It is such chances that he must not miss to gain his and PDP’s mileage for 2013.

  45. Salutations,
    It is sad that environmental disasters are in any part of anyones lives – I support efforts to ensure they are avoided. It is difficult to appreciate the position of any leader faced with this siutation. His heart would own a heaviness – and trusting in the support of those around him.
    Kind regards

  46. Thanks YPenjor for we trying to understand things in broader ways. There are other like minded as well in this forum. We are neither trying to pull down OL nor trying to pull up PM. The minimum facts have to be remained clear in all minds. We will keep intervening and pouring our views along with other writers and readers here, on the issues and attacks chooses by OL.

  47. I like the argument made by Invisible. Great leader does not end in itself. It creates succession that would follow the footstep of preceding one. In this regard, i wonder whether DPT head is grooming someone who would follow the footstep of current PM!!! Looking at the current scenario, i do not see this happening, or am i being naive?

    Cheers

  48. To all who are commenting on the DHI pay & perks. Whatever you say, there is no use since it cannot be changed. Who is there to take a strong stand and say that DHI’s pay and allowances are high and that they need to be brought down. It is useless to bark in the open air when nothing can be done in reality. Going through the arguements, there is a need to do something as a lot of people on the forum are against DHI but who can do that something. Is a sad case.

    Regarding the blame directed against the PM, thats politics and we have to live by that until you renounce the world. But remember we cannot afford to play dirty politics and ruin the beautiful kingdom handed over to us by our beloved monarchs.Pelden Drukpa Gyalo.

  49. I was thinking that: Had it not been for our beloved king, the poor people will be left high and dry by the elected government whenever the calamities hit us. I may be ignorant, so far, I have not seen any of our honourable elected member consoling/helping thos effected people. I am so grateful to our Royal Families that I can give my life for them.

  50. Shatsa wrote: “But remember we cannot afford to play dirty politics and ruin the beautiful kingdom handed over to us by our beloved monarchs.”

    I think majority Bhutanese people share this concern as expressed by Shatsa.

  51. Wisdom Mind says:

    Excellent Discussions with varied points of views!

    There was a time when we had very few godd writers. Even if there were, individuals rarely expressed radical point of views. Democratic system has atleast opened avenues for expression of views and also thanks to electronic era that provided ample of platforms for such forums.

    I do not have any views as so many thoughtful writers have covered almost all the points that are worth surfacing in limelight. My purpose is to appreciate how all the writers have been so thoughtful in their individual points of views. All minds are not same but each individual has brought out most relevant points for public consumption. Those few who have questioned on certain issues have also made things more clrearer through their expressions.

    Public opinion in a democratic system of
    governance is crucial to avert the attention of those in power getting detracted. Such discussions and expressions serve the purpose of Check & Balance. Or else, the danger of going hayway by those in power may be “taken things for granted”. Self vested interests by the leaders may
    provide a fertile ground for corruption when the entire country is fighting against corruption.

    Therefore, all views so thoughtfully epxressed and points made so clear would help avert governance mishape in the years ahead. Such public discussions must continue by acting like Watch Dog, so that anything that is being done is good for the country and its people.

    What we need is Quality Thinkers and everything will be taken care virtually.

    Good Discussions Again!!!

  52. During the BBS talk show on DHI I appreaciated DG of finance. I think such people are rare in Bhutan. Its the practicallity of the reallity that all the govt representattive are carried away by the personal benefit than guarding the treasury of the govt. He rightly pointed out that all the govt representative in Blue Ribon Panel of DHI no body has taken seriously. I appluad him hand one more member should have been from Finance to have more vote.

  53. It was not necessary for PM to return and waste the resources employed to go there in the first place.

    He had every right to be confident of his King, the government and the Opposition. It has been handled well by those in the country, I believe.

  54. How ignorant and simple we are is evident in the comments made by some of fellows:-

    Comment #1
    “It has been handled well by those in the country.”

    Comment #2
    “Under the circumstance, would it not be an act of infringement on the Royal prerogatives, if the PM were to duplicate efforts that are being ably managed by His Majesty the King? Would it not be viewed as an attempt on the part of the Prime Minister to undermine His Majesty’s benevolence?”

    However, ignorance and simplicity should not become the cause for negligent and careless conduct of our leaders. There is certainly a difference between delegating responsibilities and assuming that someone else will take the responsibility. Prime Minister is the head of our government and he enjoys all the privileges of being a country head. With privileges also come some responsibilities. Working on a global image for the country is a responsibility but it certainly should not become an excuse for neglecting own countrymen in time of difficulties. From PM we don’t seek any financial or material support but we want to see him standing next to us whenever we are in trouble. His Majesty’s presence and concerns are always a blessing and if these blessings are reinforced with the presence of our new generation leaders then life will be much simpler in these difficult times…

    Just a thought.

  55. Jarodongchen says:

    Dear Mibang,

    You are so right. Some of us do seem to be ignorant and simplistic and seem to have no understanding whatsoever about how a head of the government should behave. As you say, as the head of the government, the Prime Minister should leave everything he is doing, wherever he is and come rushing back to stand by us, next to us, during our times of difficulties. During our time of difficulties, we do not need financial or material support as you so wisely point out – they are useless. All we need is His Majesty’s blessings reinforced with the presence of the new generation of leaders.

    In fact, we should have all our Ministers – all ten of them, including the government Secretaries, and all the heads of agencies, rush to the spot of the disaster and stand still and calm by the rubbles and destruction and ask them to bless the people in distress.

    It is a pity that no one has been smart enough to think like the way you have been able to think. What can we do, the rest of the people are so dumb. How come our Prime Minister and the Ministers and the Secretaries and the Directors and all the heads of the agencies have not thought of this? What are they all doing wasting their time in Thimphu?

    Mibang, let me assure you that I am going to write to my MP and ask him to take this issue up in the next Parliamentary session. This is a very important issue and we must not rest until we have the Prime Minister and the Ministers go and stand next to the people in times of difficulties. We must demand that they leave everything they are doing and rush to the scene of the disaster and offer prayers for the wellbeing of the people.

    Mibang, I am sorry that I have been incapable of thinking the way you think. But it is not too late – I can assure you that you have my unconditional support and I will leave no stone unturned until the Prime Minister and all the ten Ministers go and stand next to the people whenever there is an earthquake in any part of the country. I will also demand that they give their heartfelt blessings whenever the people are in need of it. Please accept my apology for my failure but I assure you that from hence forth I will think the way you do and as you suggest, even I will go and stand by the people during times of difficulty so that I can give them additional blessings – in addition to the blessings of the Prime Minister and the Ministers.

    I hope this will satisfy you and you will rest in peace.

    OM MANI PADME HUNG.

  56. Dear Jarodongchen,

    I am truly touched seeing your reaction. However, what’s more important at this juncture is not to misread and misinform but to accept the facts as they are. No one is telling any of the leaders to rush to the distressed and make his life more miserable leaving all the work. I am sure you also understand this very well. What we people look for is a commitment (or a simple gesture) by our leaders to re-inforce our faith that they belong to us and more importantly ‘we belong to them’.

    Rest all is ‘B### S$$$’. And you also know it very well (you don’t seem to be ignorant).

    Just a thought…

  57. It would have been nice if the PM was there, but he had important things to attend to. However, we’re lucky that HM and OL and other leaders were there, and I doubt if things would have changed much for the better even if PM did visit.
    Beyond that, I share the same concern as Invisible – who will be our new generation of leaders? Not just the Parties, I think it applies as much to our bureaucracy. It is rather endemic in our system, that there are no real succession plans. If there are, they are hidden and largely based on criteria other than performance and ability. No wonder even the DHI talk is focused on pay and perks first whereas I think it would be fairer to focus on ‘performance’ first and may be show why they don’t deserve the paycheck.

  58. Pm should / must visit the affected areas but may be due to some reason he couldn’t that’s fine………….. But what abt the govt who are very selfish and trying to spoil someone future, i am talking about those contract teacher who are looking for justice……. i need opposition leader to give them support. Really one person can do….. Your Excellency Lynpo Tshering Tobgay…….. Please do something fro them………. REmember GNH…

  59. Tenzin Penjore says:

    Journalist has now become DPT paper with tenzin rigden there. Anyone notice?

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